Cherie & Paul's New Zealand/Australia 2014 Adventure travel blog

Ready for the Challenge!

There was a recent eruption in 2012 where the Ketatachi Hut was...

The walk along a river in the beginning was easy

Mt. Ngauruhoe (almost 2300 m high)

Beginning the Devil's Staircase

Lots of winding paths

Hard trekking since we are climbing quickly up to the south Crater

You can go up Mr Ngauruhoe as a side trip. We won't!

Down inside the South Crater. It looks like the moon!

Water break after a very difficult climb to the Red Crater Ridge

These warnings are everywhere

Red Crater (1886 m)

Blue Lake in the distance where we will hike to

Tricky scree to walk down. The rock ledge on the right was...

Beautiful Emerald Lakes

The tricky Red Crater ridge with loose scree and big drops on...

The Central Crater with an old lava flow

Red Crater in the background with steaming volcanic activity

We were in a dangerous area due to lots of volcanic activity

These would light up is an eruption is soon to happen so...

On the last part of the descent. We need to get down...

We need to walk to the white road in the distance.

The last time an eruption occurred

Volcanic activity at Te Maari Crater

Almost at the end. Walking through the forest.

This walk takes place in the Tongariro National park. It's the oldest national park in New Zealand and the 4th national park established in the world. This National Park is the first ever to be created by a gift of the indigenous people. In 1887, Te HeuHeu Tukino IV (Horonuku), Chief of the local Maori tribe Ngati Tuwharetoa, handed over 2630ha of the central volcano area to the New Zealand governement, including the summits of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. These Three mountains are all active volcanoes. These volcanoes lie along the Pacific Ring of Fire.

We had a cooler, windy day for the walk with overcast skies at times. It was the perfect weather for this rigorous hike. We parked our car at the end of the trail and a shuttle took us to the start. We had an easy walk in the beginning following the Mangatepopo Stream along boardwalks with Mt. Ngauruhoe in the background. The Devil's Staircase however was not easy and a sign suggested if that was too difficult for you then you should turn back! The steepness continued to the South Crater and was quite taxing. Many times there were warnings about what to due if the volcanoes started to erupt! It got a little easier along the Red Crater ridge. We had to use a metal chain and cable that was drilled into the rock face to help pull ourselves up to the Red Crater Summit. This was the steepest part of the track and was very difficult. This part of the track is steep and has a big drop on either side. Once we got there it was a great place to have lunch. It is the summit of the main track. It has natural underground heating , as the crater is active and there are hot spots to sit on. The scree was loose and unstable and made walking a bit tricky. We descended to the Emerald Lakes. The beginning of the descent was tricky due to the scree but it got better the closer we got to the lakes. At the bottom we entered the Central Crater. It felt like we were on the moon. Then we started to climb up a bit to the Blue Lake. We followed the Rotopaunga Valley down the North face to the Ketetahi Shelter and finally a long descent to Ketetahi car Park. Many times the trail went down and then back up again. It took us 8 hours to complete.

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